The Peace River Regional District has approved $820,000 in financing to help build a third doctor's office at the Fort St. John medical clinic.
The approval was made at last week's meeting in Fort St. John and through the regional hospital district board, which is responsible for 40% of capital costs of health care facilities and equipment purchases in the region undertaken by Northern Helath.
Northern Health is renovating the clinic's old mall, formerly home to a pharmacy, hearing centre, and coffee shop, into a third primary clinic.
The building is already home to two private practices operating at capacity, but needs more space to accommodate more doctors being recruited to the city, according to Northern Health. "There continues to be a moderate number of unattached patients that continue to seek medical services through the walk-in clinic," the health authority noted in a May 23 letter to the district.
The budget for the renovations is $2.05 million. Of the regional district's share, $200,000 will come from current operations, with the remaining $620,000 being funded through reserves.
Northern Health bought the medical clinic building in 2016 during a doctor shortage because it was purpose-built and designed by doctors — a key selling feature for recruitment efforts.
Last year, Northern Health said it was also looking to bring more community health services under one roof with the expansion, including occupational and physio therapy, home support, primary care nursing, immunization, and wound care services.
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